<pre>Author/s : Jenifer Tidwell Publisher : O'Reilly Category :Other Review by : Marc Peabody Rating : 9 horseshoes</pre> Your employers may spend millions on the applications and websites you design and they can't afford you screwing up. Ever.
In Designing Interfaces, Jenifer Tidwell presents nearly a hundred "design patterns" to make your interfaces more user friendly without sacrificing creativity. You will immediately recognize many of these patterns, as the author illustrated them with color screenshots from countless popular websites and software applications such as Google, iTunes, and Excel.
The categories of patterns range from human behavior to aesthetics, addressing your needs to make interfaces both familiar and beautiful. Jenifer Tidwell's insight and consideration for user cognition will make this book a shining gem in your personal library.
The author deserves ten horseshoes but the book only received nine because the interior layout designers simply didn't read the book. Its sans serif typeface and dispassionate layout make it difficult to read more than a few pages in a single sitting. The layout of a design book should amplify the author's words, not dismiss them.
Conclusion: Even if you are ugly and difficult to work with, your interfaces don't have to be. Grab a copy of Designing Interfaces and brace yourself for the praise you'll receive from your users.
<pre>Review by : John Wetherbie Rating : 8 horseshoes</pre> Designing Interfaces is not like most books about interface design. It presents "patterns" that the author has seen in Interaction Design and developing user interfaces. The ninety-four patterns are divided into categories with each category/chapter having a brief introduction and overview.
The patterns are somewhat akin to those found in the Gang of Four's Design Patterns book. The first twelve are brief descriptions of how people interact with various aspects of interfaces. The remaining patterns have what, use when, why, how, and examples sections. The how section presents a scenario or design choices for how the pattern can be used. There are multiple figures illustrating the pattern and references to related patterns.
The book's good points are the brief but good content of the chapter overviews, the how sections of each pattern, and the illustrations.
My complaints about the book are minor. When one pattern referenced another I would have liked the page number of the referenced pattern to be listed instead of just the name. I found the gray color of the text a bit tough on the eyes and the font size for the figure descriptions a bit small.
One of the major benefits of the Design Patterns book was that it provided a common vocabulary with which to discuss and communicate software designs. It will be interesting to see if this book has the same effect on interaction and interface design.
Full disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book for review.
<pre> Review by : Jeanne Boyarsky Rating : 10 horseshoes</pre> "Designing Interfaces" does for UIs what the Gang of Four did for code. Each chapter starts with a detailed overview of a UI topic with examples of good and bad design. The bulk of the chapter goes into many idioms/patterns that apply to that part of UI design. For example, form design, data presentation and editors are covered in chapter form. There is even a chapter on the emotional effect of pages. The emphasis on user interaction and not just design, distinguishes this book from others.
While there are many books on website design, this one also covers desktop and mobile interfaces. Many principles are the same and differences are highlighted. The author culls some ideas from the website design and usability classics; always making a reference. Other ideas are standards and yet more are original.
The main point of the book is to create a catalog and common language for discussing interface design. At this, the author succeeds fabulously. Each idiom or pattern is given a distinctive name, described with the what/when/why/how and provides examples. Just like Gang of Four, the patterns are appropriately cross referenced. This book is both a great read and a great reference. If you design or make GUI recommendations, you should buy it today!